La moralità è un prodotto dell'evoluzione e dell'esperienza umana.

La moralità deriva sia dall'evoluta biochimica cerebrale, sia da influenze socioculturali. L'immagine mostra alcune delle strutture neuroanatomiche associate alla moralità (Pascual et al., 2013).

La moralità umana è un prodotto della natura o della cultura? Nell’ambito delle scienze sociali si è dibattuto a lungo su quale sia l'elemento responsabile, un dibattito che si è rivelato per lo più improduttivo. A quanto pare, la moralità deriva infatti sia dalla natura che dalla cultura.

La natura fornisce già molti elementi della psicologia morale umana. Le ricerche scientifiche  sul comportamento evolutivo  hanno ormai accumulato forti indizi: il nostro cervello è pre-programmato per essere incline al giudizio morale. Ciò ci rende in grado di provare vergogna, o di comportarci in modo collaborativo. Siamo già attrezzati per provare empatia, altruismo e compassione.

Allo stesso modo, siamo anche attrezzati per quei comportamenti che la maggior parte delle persone giudica immorali. Il nostro cervello ci rende capaci di violenza e pronti, talvolta, a infliggere sofferenza.

Gli esseri umani sono di natura orientati ad apprendere il comportamento etico dal loro ambiente sociale. Nel corso della vita, quindi, anche l’aspetto culturale esercita la sua influenza. L’educazione ricevuta in famiglia ha un peso e la socializzazione con i propri pari e la comunità, orientando i concetti di “giusto” o “sbagliato”, ha un ruolo  fondamentale nel plasmare la condotta.

Per conciliare questi diversi elementi che convivono in noi, è necessario comprendere la complessità sociale e cognitiva dell’essere umano. Una cosa emerge chiaramente dalle ricerche: l’imperativo religioso non è necessario per la moralità. E’ infatti dimostrato che i sentimenti morali che ci spingono ad aiutare e prenderci cura del prossimo si sono evoluti indipendentemente dalla religione.

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